2005 Regular Session
To: Public Health and Welfare; Appropriations
By: Senator(s) Tollison
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTIONS 41-21-73 AND 41-21-77, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO DELETE THE PROVISION CHARGING THE COUNTY OF RESIDENCE WITH THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE COST OF PREADMISSION CARE FOR PERSONS COMMITTED FOR TREATMENT OF MENTAL ILLNESS, AND TO DELETE CERTAIN CERTIFICATION STANDARDS FOR NON-STATE TREATMENT FACILITIES FOR SUCH PERSONS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 41-21-73, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
41-21-73. (1) The hearing shall be conducted before the chancellor. Within a reasonable period of time before the hearing, notice of same shall be provided the respondent and his attorney, which shall include: (a) notice of the date, time and place of the hearing; (b) a clear statement of the purpose of the hearing; (c) the possible consequences or outcome of the hearing; (d) the facts that have been alleged in support of the need for commitment; (e) the names, addresses and telephone numbers of the examiner(s); and (f) other witnesses expected to testify.
(2) The respondent must be present at the hearing unless the chancellor determines that the respondent is unable to attend and makes that determination and the reasons therefor part of the record. At the time of the hearing the respondent shall not be so under the influence or suffering from the effects of drugs, medication or other treatment so as to be hampered in participating in the proceedings. The court, at the time of the hearing, shall be presented a record of all drugs, medication or other treatment that the respondent has received pending the hearing, unless the court determines that such a record would be impractical and documents the reasons for that determination.
(3) The respondent shall have the right to offer evidence, to be confronted with the witnesses against him and to cross-examine them and shall have the privilege against self-incrimination. The rules of evidence applicable in other judicial proceedings in this state shall be followed.
(4) If the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the proposed patient is a mentally ill or mentally retarded person and, if after careful consideration of reasonable alternative dispositions, including, but not limited to, dismissal of the proceedings, the court finds that there is no suitable alternative to judicial commitment, the court shall commit the patient for treatment in the least restrictive treatment facility that can meet the patient's treatment needs. * * * Admissions to state-operated facilities shall be in compliance with the catchment areas established by the Department of Mental Health. A nonresident of the state may be committed for treatment or confinement in the county where such person was found.
Alternatives to commitment to inpatient care may include, but shall not be limited to: voluntary or court-ordered outpatient commitment for treatment with specific reference to a treatment regimen, day treatment in a hospital, night treatment in a hospital, placement in the custody of a friend or relative or the provision of home health services.
For persons committed as mentally ill or mentally retarded, the initial commitment shall not exceed three (3) months.
(5) No person shall be committed to a treatment facility whose primary problems are the physical disabilities associated with old age or birth defects of infancy.
(6) The court shall state the findings of fact and conclusions of law that constitute the basis for the order of commitment. The findings shall include a listing of less restrictive alternatives considered by the court and the reasons that each was found not suitable.
(7) A stenographic transcription shall be recorded by a stenographer or electronic recording device and retained by the court.
(8) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, neither the Board of Mental Health or its members, nor the Department of Mental Health or its related facilities, nor any employee of the Department of Mental Health or its related facilities, unless related to the respondent by blood or marriage, shall be assigned or adjudicated custody, guardianship, or conservatorship of the respondent.
(9) The county where a person in need of treatment is found is authorized to charge the county of such person's residence for the costs incurred while such person is confined in the county where such person was found.
SECTION 2. Section 41-21-77, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
41-21-77. If admission is ordered at a treatment facility, the sheriff, his deputy or any other person appointed or authorized by the court shall immediately deliver the respondent to the director of the appropriate facility. Neither the Board of Mental Health or its members, nor the Department of Mental Health or its related facilities, nor any employee of the Department of Mental Health or its related facilities, shall be appointed, authorized or ordered to deliver the respondent for treatment, and no person shall be so delivered or admitted until the director of the admitting institution determines that facilities and services are available. Persons who have been ordered committed and are awaiting admission may be given any such treatment in the facility by a licensed physician as is indicated by standard medical practice. * * * The clerk shall provide the director of the admitting institution with a certified copy of the court order, a certified copy of the physician's and any psychologist's certificate, a certified copy of the affidavit, and any other information available concerning the physical and mental condition of the respondent; provided, upon notification from the United States Veterans Administration or other agency of the United States government, that facilities are available and the respondent is eligible for care and treatment therein, the court may enter an order for delivery of the respondent to or retention by the Veterans Administration or other agency of the United States government, and, in such cases such chief officer to whom the respondent is so delivered or by whom he is retained shall, with respect to the respondent, be vested with the same powers as the director of the Mississippi State Hospital at Whitfield, or the East Mississippi State Hospital at Meridian, with respect to retention and discharge of the respondent.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2005.